No. 526
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
June 21, 2021

George Dixon’s Victory over Australian Billy.

February 26, 2013
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"Louisville Courier-Journal," May 8, 1881, via Newspapers.comWhen I started this blog, I hoped to focus on the smaller, obscure stories from the past--the long-forgotten bits of random oddities that, when taken together, show just what a strange world we live in.  In short, the "uncommon" is really quite commonplace.One such story is the death of one otherwise completely unmemorable young man. 
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Strange Company - 6/21/2021

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An Ordnance to Cover the Defective Points.Denver Tribune-RepublicanMay 14, 1885(Click image to enlarge)   n order to cover such cases as "Soapy" Smith, the arrest of whom for violating the lottery ordinance"  Note how bad the Xerox copy at the top is. This was shared to my father, by his brother (my uncle) Joseph Jefferson Smith​ (1909-1977). Obviously, the copiers at the time did not do
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 6/13/2021

When railroad baron H.H. Cook decided to build himself a New York City mansion, he didn’t try to squeeze into a plot of land on Fifth Avenue in the 50s—an area that had been colonized by several Vanderbilt heirs and other Gilded Age moneymakers. Instead, he went to the then-hinterlands of Manhattan, purchasing the entire […]
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Ephemeral New York - 6/20/2021
Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Parental hostility drove Fanny Madison out of her home and into the arms of her cousin, Thomas Cluverius. It was not a wise decision.Read the full story here: Kissing Cousins.                                             Pictures from Illustrated Police News, May 2, 1885.
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Murder By Gaslight - 6/19/2021

Producer-director Ric Rebelo has today, in memory of LeeAnn Wilber, former co-owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, released this award-winning film for public view on Youtube. This was filmed in 2010, some of the participants in the production are no longer with us today. What was recorded in 2010 has not changed much today in 2021, only intensified in fascination.
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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 6/16/2021
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
The Pawn-Ticket Game. | Burglary Tools.

George Dixon’s Victory over Australian Billy.

George Dixon

Dixon’s Right Lands on Murphy’s Body.

The Colored Wonder Defeats the Australian Champion in Six Rounds in New York, Jan. 22. [more]

Murphy the other night was quick and decisive. The long-legged foreigner made a showing in the first couple of rounds which was well calculated to give adherents of the colored wonder some uneasiness, but after that there was no doubt—beyond the usual chance factor—about the result. The “Little Torpedo,” as Harry Weldon calls him, proved to be a “verry cunnin’ gent.” When he found himself lacking the ability to force the pace himself, and he found himself unable do go, the terrible volley of left-handed punches whcih were being shot into his face, neck and body, with rare discernment and discretion he gracefully took advantage of the first opportunity that was afforded him to “turn it up.” That was the opinion of Referee Roche and hundreds of others who sat up close to ringside and had a position to see in minute detail everything that was going on. In the third round he looked as if he didn’t want to go any further, but Dixon, who expressed a determination to give him a good walloping in return for past offenses, “pulled a hit” to enable Murphy to steady himself. The affair was too one-sided to deserve any extended reference.

Dixon’s defeat of Murphy makes it more apparent than ever that the former should be given another chance at Erne. When he met the latter recently he was not conditioned and in no shape to fight. He has remedied his faults, corrected his habits and settled down to hard work. He never was in better condition than the other night. Had he looked as carefully to his preparations for the Erne affair, the latter never could have earned a decision over him.

The two are matched again, however, to fight at Dan Stuart’s carnival or wherever the best inducments can be obtained. If under Stuart’s auspices it will be a finish affair, but if under a social club the duration of the bout will be only five rounds.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, February 6, 1897